• A registered charity, we have offices and staff in England, Ireland, Malawi, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • Here's our staff team working towards a world free from meningitis and septicaemia.

Vinny Smith
Chief Executive

I’m the Chief Executive of Meningitis Research Foundation and joined in 2015 to lead the organisation through an exciting time of change. I’ve worked with the team to open new doors for the organisation, from engaging with new international partners, to playing an instrumental role in the battle to unlock protection against MenB for everyone; in April 2016 I presented evidence at the Health Select Committee highlighting the need for changes to the unfair rules that govern vaccines eligibility. 

 I was previously Director of STAND Consulting which advised non-profits in the UK, Africa and US on strategic planning, fundraising and organisational development. I also previously worked at Cancer Research UK for 7 years and later became Chief Operating Officer in the international development and domestic violence sectors. I am author of a recent conference report on the use of mobile health and technology in West Africa following the Ebola outbreak; and a guest lecturer at the University of the West of England on Organisational Development.

Diane McConnell
Deputy CEO
Head of Community Engagement and Fundraising

I have been working with Meningitis Research Foundation since 5 April 1995.

I love my job and get great satisfaction from working with members and supporters of the charity who are as committed to the cause as I am.

My role as Deputy Chief Executive is interesting and diverse. There is never one day the same. I am directly responsible for income generation across all our offices (Belfast, Bristol, Dublin and Edinburgh). I also deputise for the Chief Executive in his absence.

I have four wonderful grown up children and four adorable grandchildren. I like family Sundays and walk, read, knit and sew when I get time. My greatest passion by far is my garden and when I go into the garden, time becomes irrelevant..

Monika Marchlewicz
Ireland Manager

Hi, I’m Monika and I have worked for the Foundation since May 2006.

My motto has always been 'Don't just do it - do it with passion and pride!' The true meaning of this was never more apparent than when I started working for the Foundation. It is a privilege to work alongside so many amazing, skilled and passionate people who really do make a difference! I am proud to represent MRF.

My proudest accomplishment is beautiful and smart son. Away from the office, I enjoy outdoor activities, including gardening, and home improvement projects.

Mary Millar
Scotland Manager

I'm Mary Millar and I'm the Scotland Manager. I joined MRF in July 2009.

My background is in marketing and advertising within the private sector, skills which I have found useful in promoting the Foundation further in Scotland, and driving forward increased awareness, support and fundraising campaigns.

I really enjoy being involved with all our Scottish Members and Supporters, and helping to make a difference to our important cause.

Research, Evidence and Policy

Linda Glennie
Head of Research, Evidence and Policy

I'm Linda Glennie and I'm Head of Research and Medical Information at MRF where I've worked since 1997.

I work with scientists and health professionals across a range of disciplines to develop information materials for the public and for health professionals, and I've co-authored several educational resources for nurses and trainee doctors. I also organise the scientific programme for the Foundation’s biennial international conferences.

I'm responsible for managing the administration, peer review and monitoring of the Foundation’s international research programme.

Natacha Blake
Evidence and Policy Officer (Diagnosis and Treatment)

Hi I’m Natacha and I have been working in the Research, Evidence and Policy department as Evidence & Policy Officer since the beginning of 2017.

My role, which has been developed recently to enable our UK and international capacity, involves working with both my colleagues here at MRF and other professionals to provide evidence-based understanding and awareness into the issues associated with the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia, both in the UK and internationally.

I am looking forward to meeting and working with our fundraisers and stakeholders.

Caroline Kreiger
Medical Information Officer, Ireland

I work as the Medical Information Officer for Ireland and have been with the Charity since December 2012.

I enjoy my job as every day is varied and I get to meet and work with a lot of different and inspirational people. I get great satisfaction from promoting meningitis awareness in Ireland and working towards the shared goals of the Foundation.

Sinéad McMurray
Information and Support Officer, Northern Ireland

My name is Sinéad and I am the information and support officer for Belfast. 

I joined Meningitis Research Foundation this year and I am really enjoying getting to know all our members and supporters.

My role is to raise awareness and provide information on meningitis and septicaemia among medical professionals and the general public. I do this by organising information sessions with health professionals and community groups, distributing literature as well talking to the media.

I also provide support to those directly affected by the disease through the helpline by answering calls and emails from the public about meningitis.

Liz Rodgers
Research Officer

Hi, I’m Liz and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in October 2016 as Research Officer maternity cover.

My role involves working with the Scientific Advisory Panel on the Foundations research programme. It’s really exciting to see how our research programme evolves, from the initial selection of research applications, to working with our comms team to help publicise our research in novel ways.

In addition to this, I help organise smaller, more regular events throughout the year. I particularly enjoy planning our Research Discovery Days – which gives our members and the general public a chance to meet the scientists leading the research.

Claire Wright
Evidence & Policy Manager (Prevention)

My name is Claire and my role as Evidence & Policy Manager (Prevention) involves working on the educational materials that MRF distributes to health professionals and the public, making sure that it is up to date with findings from current research.

I also try to answer specific medical questions we receive about meningitis and septicaemia and promote the charity's work at conferences around the country.

It’s very rewarding to work on awareness literature which may go on to help save lives and support those who have been affected by this disease.

Advocacy, Communications and Support

Rob Dawson
Head of Advocacy, Communications and Support

I joined in 2016 after seeing the great work the charity does to help people affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

I have worked in communications for a range of sectors and bring experience from industry, charities and government.

I am a comms geek and sit on several committees and working groups to help train, mentor and share best practise within the PR and communications industry.

My other passions are plants, theatre and flying trapeze.

Shirley Gieron
Membership and Support Manager

Hi, I'm Shirley and I lead a team of dedicated staff working within Support.

My work with members and individuals who have personal experience of meningitis and septicaemia includes home visits, the Telephone Befriending Network, giving talks to health professionals and community groups, running Members' Days and linking with other agencies and charities dealing with neurological and physical disabilities.

I feel privileged to support people affected by these diseases through times of extreme crisis, sharing their experiences and working with them through life changing trauma.

Danielle Duggan
Community Engagement Officer

Hi, I’m Danielle and I work in the Membership and Support team. As well as answering helpline calls, I support our Ambassadors who are active members of the charity who all have personal experience of the disease. Ambassadors represent MRF and raise awareness in their local communities by distributing literature, giving talks in schools, colleges and community groups, talking to the media and holding fundraising events.

I also look after our telephone befriending network which offers support to people recently affect by meningitis and septicaemia by putting them in touch with a trained befriender who has had a similar experience of the disease.

I feel very lucky to be able to support people at such a difficult time in their lives and I am inspired by the things members achieve either after having the disease or in memory of a loved one who had the disease.

Katherine Freeman
Information and Support Officer

Hi, I’m Katherine and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation in August 2015. I raise awareness of meningitis and septicaemia by sharing medical information about the disease with the general public and health professionals.

I am involved in organising MRF events for families and health professionals, and meet our members and supporters in the community offering our support, whatever their experience of meningitis and septicaemia.

I also take helpline calls and answer emails from people with a range of queries about meningitis and septicaemia, including symptoms and after effects, and offer them support if they or their loved ones are affected.

I am humbled by the inspirational people we meet.

Adrian Robson
Communications Projects Manager

Hi. I'm Adrian Robson. I work in the Communications Department at the Foundation and have done since 1999.

I look after lots of e-communications, like this website and eNewsletters for MRF's members, supporters and other interested parties.

I also work on the language that MRF uses to describe its work.

Having a true understanding of the devastating effects of the diseases, through our Members, continues to be my main motivation.

Amy Sear
Communications Officer

Hi, I’m Amy and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in October 2012 as a Communications Officer. My role is to support the commissioning and production of printed publications and products aimed at a range of audiences from the public and medical professionals to large corporations and scientific communities and am responsible for ensuring brand consistency across all of these materials. I also produce various materials in-house using Adobe Creative Suite, assist in the delivery of strategic campaigns and provide communications support for other departments and their activities and events.

I have worked in the charity sector since 2011, prior to this I spent 14 years in financial services, both in a marketing/communications role.

I really enjoy working at MRF, it’s so rewarding to know that the work I do helps support the many people who have been affected by meningitis and septicaemia.

Sam Williams
Media Relations Manager

Hi, I’m Sam. My job is to help raise awareness of meningitis, septicaemia and the work of MRF in combatting these diseases through the media. I wouldn’t be able to do this without our members who help us by sharing their stories and personal experiences.

Through the media, I also help to spread word of the fantastic scientific research that is being funded by Meningitis Research Foundation and also the support that the charity offers to those affected by these devastating diseases.


Ian Beningfield
Head of Fundraising

Social and new media fan, part time geek and formerly prolific coffee drinker. I've been with the charity since 2004, in the past I was involved with many of the charity's community events including most recently the running programme.

These days I spend a lot of my time finding new ways to use technology and the web to boost our fundraising, stay in contact with our members and supporters and baffle my colleagues with jargon.

Subi Aubert
Appeals and Campaigns Fundraiser

Hey I’m Subi and I’m the Appeals and Campaigns Fundraiser for MRF.

This role is a new addition to the Fundraising team to enable MRF to expand our range of individual giving appeals and campaigns. 

As the Appeals and Campaigns Fundraiser I will be identifying key opportunities during the year such as Meningitis Awareness Week and develop fundraising propositions linked to these events.

This is a very exciting opportunity to implement a plan to significantly grow appeals income over the years to come.

Having worked in the Charity Sector since 2011 with a background in corporate fundraising, communications and special events I am excited to apply my experience to this new role.

Steven Bennett
Projects Fundraiser

Hi, I’m Steve and I joined the fundraising team at MRF in the first couple weeks of 2017.

As Projects Fundraiser I am responsible for applying for grant funding from Trusts and Charitable Foundations. Applications can be for anything; from our research projects overseas to our awareness raising work across the UK, which is a great way to learn about the fantastic and varied work of the charity.

With a background in corporate fundraising and special events I also assist the team with its Corporate and Major Gifts fundraising efforts. It’s a rewarding and varied role, not to mention a great pleasure to be a part of such an inspiring organisation.

Imogen Farmer
Fundraising Administrator

Hi, my name is Imi and I joined MRF in January 2017 as part of the student fundraising team.

I’m already loving being part of the MRF team. My favourite part of the job is meeting all the students who are working so hard to reach their fundraising targets, it’s really inspiring.

My role involves making sure that online and offline donations are recorded correctly on our database. I also organise permits for street collections. So if you would like to set up a street collection in your area as part of your fundraising, then please get in touch.

Cecily Hall
Corporate and Major Gifts Fundraiser

Hello, I’m Cecily and I’m the Corporate and Major Gifts Fundraiser for MRF. My role involves gaining corporate and individual support for the charity; developing long-term partnerships with businesses and valuable relationships with high net-worth individuals.

I have worked in the charity sector since 2013 and specialised in corporate fundraising for the last couple of years, so I really look forward to applying this experience to MRF and contributing to its fundraising activities.

If you are a business interested in supporting our work and would like to chat about corporate opportunities, I would love to hear from you.

Ed Kuivala
Projects Officer

Hi, I’m Ed and I wear a couple of hats in Fundraising, both at scurrilously jaunty angles!

I support Esther and Chloe, our Events and Community fundraisers, with whatever they need, from sending out packs and contacting fundraisers to finding the best place for the Ambassador cheerleader team to stand during the Great North Run.

I also help Kate with the database, fundraising admin, and Just Giving pages to help a seamless flow from internet to database.

Kate Lobley
Fundraising Administrator Officer

Hi, I’m Kate and I joined the fundraising team at the Foundation in January 2016.

As a Fundraising Administration Officer I am responsible for dealing with every donation the charity receives. Whether it is Trust, Corporate, Pharma, Student or Community, and regardless of channel, if you have a query about a donation please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I am also responsible for maintaining our charity database, so work hard to ensure that all donor, supporter and member information is recorded accurately on our system. This includes personal details as well as case histories for those personally effected by the disease. If you would like to update any details, or have a query regarding data preferences, feel free to contact me.

Chloe Milloy
Membership Fundraiser

Hi, I’m Chloe and I joined the fundraising team at MRF in 2016. 

I am now working as the Membership Fundraiser which provides me with the opportunity to work directly with the members of the charity who have personal experience of meningitis, and support them in their fundraising. 

My aim is to provide our members with information, resources and guidance in their fundraising activities and assist with the achievement of overall fundraising and membership goals. I am continually inspired by the creativity and passion of our members and supporters.

If you would like to organise your own event or take part in an established event in your local area and fundraise for MRF, please feel free to contact me.

Clare Mills
Fundraising Officer

Hello my name is Clare and I work for the student team here at Meningitis Research Foundation.

I love travelling and meeting new people, which is why I knew this was the job for me.

Being part of the student team is so much fun as there is always some amazing event happening or some crazy story from a student.

If you fancy coming up with a crazy event, need any fundraising ideas or support, just get in contact.

Jenny Robinson
Fundraising Officer

Hey I’m Jenny!

I’m part of the student team who do anything from climbing Kilimanjaro to running in European marathons. Working with students is vital to us as well as raising funds we can raise awareness within the community as they are the second most affected group from meningitis and septicaemia.

I have supported the charity since climbing Kilimanjaro for MRF in 2012 and cannot wait for the day that we achieve our aim of a world free from meningitis and septicaemia.

Claire Rooney
Philanthropy Manager

I look after the individuals and trusts and foundations who make generous gifts to support our medical research portfolio, our life-saving medical information work, awareness raising and support services in the UK as well as our programmatic work in Africa.

I am also responsible for working with people who wish to leave a gift in their Will, and for managing the administration of legacies.

I’ve been working in fundraising since 2012, with major philanthropists, trusts and foundations. Before that I was a private client solicitor, advising high net worth clients on Wills, trusts and tax planning. I love working in the charity sector, and find it really rewarding to see the impact of the work that I’m fundraising for, and it’s a real pleasure to work with an organisation like MRF.

If you are a Trustee or Grants Manager who would like to find out more about our work, or an individual who would like to make a significant donation, I would love to hear from you. I am also the first point of contact if you are considering leaving us a legacy in your Will, and for solicitors dealing with Will preparation and estate administration..

Esther Trackman
Events Fundraiser

Hi, I’m Esther. 

I’m looking after some of our key fundraising events – London Marathon, Paris Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Tough Mudder, Great North Run and Great South Run, Vitality 10k, and L’etape du Tour,.

My aim is to make sure anyone taking part in an event for us has the best possible experience and achieves everything they set out to do. It’s wonderful to see people reach and surpass their goals, especially as so many of the people I work with are taking part because they have a personal connection with the cause. Meeting supporters at the events is my favourite part of the job, so if you sign up for one of the events I’m looking after I may well see you soon!!

Andy Tribe
Student Fundraising Assistant

Hey I’m Andy and I’m part of the student fundraising team here at MRF.

We’re responsible for sending students up mountains, running European marathons and all sorts of other crazy events. I also coordinate all our bucket collections throughout the year including our London Loot collection over Easter.

I love fundraising and have done a whole host of events since joining University in 2012 including climbing Kilimanjaro for MRF in in my final year.

Katie Yule
Community Fundraiser, Scotland

Hi, I’m Katie and I joined Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) in January 2016 to work in the Edinburgh office as Community Fundraiser. It’s a privilege to be working for such a fantastic charity, that’s impact can be seen both in the UK and internationally.

My role is to support members and supporters in Scotland with their fundraising events and further develop our community based fundraising in Scotland. I enjoy meeting new people and relish the challenge of bringing ideas to life, however crazy they may be!

International projects

Michael Fuller
Head of International Projects

Michael is MRF's Head of International Projects


Mike Taylor
Head of Operations

I joined MRF in 2012 as Head of Fundraising, having been in business for most of my career. 

In 2015 I took the new role of Head of Operations, responsible for finance, administration and resourcing – leading a team that is passionate about providing the best possible service to our whole organisation and to all our partners and supporters.

Throughout my career I’ve held a number of voluntary positions within community and charitable organisations and am currently a trustee of Bristol-based African Initiatives. I have also worked as an expedition leader for charity challenge expeditions all over world.

I am currently engaged in an MSc in Charity Accounting and Financial Management at Cass Business School, University of London.

Kelly Latham
Finance Manager

Hi I'm Kelly and I've been working for MRF since May 2004 as the Finance Manager.

My main role is to process all the income and expenditure for the whole charity including satellite offices and preparing monthly management accounts, but colleagues would agree an important part of my job is paying their wages!

I enjoy working for the charity and hopefully one day I will be able to keep on top of my filing!

Dawn Carrie
Office and Fundraising Administrator, Scotland

Hi , I'm Dawn and I started at the Foundation in August 2009 as an Office and Fundraising Assistant in the Edinburgh Office.

As well ensuring the smooth running of the office, my role includes organising street, supermarket and can collections in Scotland as well as helping with fundraising events. I rely on the help of all our wonderful volunteers, members and supporters, who I thoroughly enjoy meeting.

Paula Donaghy
Administrator, Northern Ireland

Hi I joined MRF In August 2016 and am currently enjoying meeting and working with our members and supporters in the Belfast Office, and familiarising myself with the fantastic work of the Foundation. 

I have joined at a very interesting time and look forward to being part of this newly developing MRF.

Paul George
Office Manager

I have been with MRF since 1995, initially working 3 hours a day while managing a young family. Since then I have slowly become full time and moved over from fundraising to the position of office manager.

I am a keen supporter Charlton Athletic.

Laura Hardidge
Finance and HR Officer

Hi I’m Laura, I joined the charity in April 2016 working in a combined role of office administrator and finance assistant.

I communicate with all our different departments and offices to make sure they run as smoothly as possible, a sort of groundwork organiser.

It’s a rewarding and varied role including; dealing with our literature awareness orders, incoming donations and being the first point of call for general queries.

Working in the MRF team with a great bunch of people is really enjoyable.

Ola Wartak-Tolak
Administrative, Financial and Fundraising Officer, Ireland

I joined MRF in October 2016 and I work as the Administrative, Financial and Fundraising Officer in our Dublin office.

I find my customer service and banking skills as well as the knowledge of the small charity sector very useful in my new role. 

I not only looking after the office administration and its finance but I also organise all of our bucket collections and raffles throughout the year. 

Fortunately, I can count on helping hand from our amazing members, supporters and volunteers.

I love a good read, I am passionate about ceramics and I enjoy hikes in Wicklow Mountains.

Page last updated 12.07.17